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Today I sit here. Tears streaming. This is not the first time I’ve cried for Z. And it sure as heck won’t be the last.

You see, maybe a week or two ago, God has laid the idea on my heart that I need to love Z’s mom.

Can I be honest? I don’t want to love her.

It is so much easier to demonize her. To blame her continually in my mind for what caused Z to enter foster care to begin with. It is so easy to look at her with contempt. With a “holier than thou” attitude. With the thought that she’s the one that screwed up, and I’m the one that’s fixing it.

It is so easy for my brain to trick me into believing that I am real mom. She’s just the one that gave birth.

It’s the ugly, dark part in my heart. And it’s not right.

But how do I love her?

Our caseworker for our agency came over today. We talked about court and all that went down there. Then we talked about reunification.

What it will likely look like. What I can do now to make it go as smoothly as possible.

And then she brought up the other “R” word. Not reunification.

Relationship.

“If you have a relationship with mom, it might make it easier for you to say good-bye. Maybe start a journal that you can write notes to her before visits. And then she can write notes back to you. Write encouraging things to her. And one day, when she has overnight visits, you might be able to transport Z there. You’ll get to see where they’ll live. It might help too for you to see him with her. She needs to start coming to doctor’s visits and the like.”

And so the “how” now has a plan.

I’m to love her by sharing as much of her son with her as I can. I’m to love her by encouraging her. I’m to love her by praying for her. I’m to love her by anticipating and celebrating with her the milestones she’s hitting. I’m to love her by letting her parent at his appointments.

Friends — I can’t do this. This is no small, easy task. Only God can do it through me — and I seriously need your prayers to get me through this. To love mom as much as I love Z. To hold my heart and arms wide open to both of them.

To let go. To let go. To let go.

Over, and over in my heart over the next 6 months. Even as I throw Z his first birthday party. And watch him take his first steps. And teach him more words. And snuggle him at night. Watch his smile change as his teeth come in.

Even as I fall in love deeper with this child I consider my son — I am still to let go.

Since court on Monday, it feels as though some giant time bomb is just ticking, ticking, ticking. 6 more months to love your son. One day less. One night less. I am marching toward a good-bye I don’t want to make.

And yet, I chose this pain. This grief. I chose it, and I’ll live it. And I would still do it all over again for Z.

But I can’t do it alone. More than ever I realize I can’t do this foster parenting gig thing alone. I need your support.  Mostly your prayers. Mostly to know that when we say good-bye . . . when he leaves our home for the very last time . . . when I kiss his softy fuzzy head as the social worker takes him away . . . I need to know you all will be there with me.  Missing him. Loving him. Praying for him.

And lifting our family up.